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The Woman in White


Published November 18, 2008


LibriVox recording of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Read by LibriVox volunteers.

The Woman in White is an epistolary novel written by Wilkie Collins in 1859, serialized in 1859-1860, and first published in book form in 1860. It is considered to be to the first mystery novel, and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’….

The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative in which several characters in turn take up the telling of the story. This creates a complex web in which readers are unsure which narrator can, and cannot, be trusted. Collins used this technique in his other novels, including The Moonstone. This technique was copied by other novelists, including Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897), although by the end of the 19th century the technique was considered “old-fashioned”. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 25:34:37

Reviews

Reviewer: Sayeth - - May 27, 2010
Subject: Free Listens review
For all the book's length, it managed to hold my attention as an interesting read. To play the "If author 1 and author 2 had a baby" game, I would say it's like what would happen if Charlotte Bronte and Arthur Conan Doyle collaborated on a novel: you get the mystery and outre villains of Sherlock Holmes with the dark backstory, frustrated romance, and class inequality of Jane Eyre.
For full review see: http://www.freelistens.blogspot.com/
Reviewer: ListeninginChicago - - July 24, 2009
Subject: Well done group collaberation
From Wikipedia: A poor art master, Walter Hartright, is employed to teach two young women in Cumberland, and falls in love with one of them, Laura. His feelings are returned, but she is already engaged to another. They are parted and she marries, but she and Marian, her resourceful half-sister, are then caught up in her new husband's plot to steal her fortune and identity. Laura is stripped of her name and money, and almost of her sanity, but is rescued by Marian and protected by the faithful Hartright. He and Marian battle to expose the fraud and reclaim Laura's identity, fortune and position in society. Throughout the story they encounter a mysterious woman in white, whose own sad story seems entangled with those of Laura and her husband, and who plays a crucial role in the novel's main events.

My comments: This Librivox reading is a bit unusual in that a specific reader takes on all of the chapters which are narrated by a specific character. It takes quite a bit of planning, and editing, to bring it all together, and the result is excellent. Walter Hartright is very well read by Tim Bulkeley.

The book is a bit long, and I agree with another reviewer who said that it seems to drag at times. Overall though, it does move well and it's worth the listen.
Reviewer: benefitsingers - - May 29, 2009
Subject: Excellent collaboration
This was a good story with lots of twists and turns. All of the narration was really good and very well done. The person who does the horrible uncle was so fantastic. I really thought it was that character talking. Keep up the Good work whoever put this collaboration together.
Reviewer: mikezane - - May 21, 2009
Subject: Pretty good book
I think it dragged out a little bit longer than necessary.

Ann is a young woman with a history of mental illness who hides a terrible secret. Laura is a young woman in love who is to be married, not for love, but because of a promise to her father, even tho her heart loves another.

Just before the wedding, Ann contacts Laura to warn her that her husband to be is not a good man. Ann is not believed, and the wedding goes on as planned.

Shortly thereafter, Laura's life becomes a living nightmare at the hands of her cruel husband, who lives in fear of the secrets of his past and the fact that a mentally deranged woman holds them and could spill them at any moment.

What could those secrets be? How can those secrets be used to free poor Laura from her wicked husband?

Readers were very good, only a few tinny sounding recordings, and all were very easy to understand.
Reviewer: RoseofShalott - - April 18, 2009
Subject: Quality performance
This is quite a good rendition of a very worthwhile novel. The majority of the readers are energetic and enjoyable. I very much enjoyed the consistency of having the same readers performing the same narrators throughout the novel. Highly recommended!
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